Thursday, May 31, 2018

The History of Terracotta


 From Homes and Antiques:
Over time, some home fashions come and go as trends evolve, but there is one remarkable yet ‘everyday’ material that is far too beautiful, affordable and useful to be forgotten for long: terracotta. From classical sculptures to modern, minimalist pendant lights – the enduring appeal of this humble substance appears to know no bounds. Countless designers and makers have embraced the fiery orange-hued clay of late. While trend-setting Danish brand Bloomingville has a new tableware collection featuring part-glazed terracotta pieces, up-and-coming designers such as Nick Fraser are creating contemporary products with this ancient material. Royal Doulton has just launched its new ‘Olio’ collection, which features terracotta pieces inspired by the salt-glazed clay pipes the firm once manufactured, and paint brand Valspar has also announced that ‘terracotta’ is a key colour for 2017. (Read more.)
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The Case of Tommy Robinson

From The Gatestone Institute:
The very first time I set foot in London, back in my early twenties, I kicked up into an adrenaline high that lasted for the entire week of my visit. Never, in later years, did any other place ever have such an impact on me -- not Paris, not Rome. Yes, Rome was a cradle of Western civilization, and Paris a hub of Western culture -- but Britain was the place where the values of the Anglosphere, above all a dedication to freedom, had fully taken form. Without Britain, there would have been no U.S. Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights.

In recent years, alas, Britain has deviated from its commitment to liberty. Foreign critics of Islam, such as the American scholar Robert Spencer, and for a time, even the Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders have been barred from the country. Now, at least one prominent native critic of Islam, Tommy Robinson, has been repeatedly harassed by the police, railroaded by the courts, and left unprotected by prison officials who have allowed Muslim inmates to beat him senseless. Clearly, British authorities view Robinson as a troublemaker and would like nothing more than to see him give up his fight, leave the country (as Ayaan Hirsi Ali left the Netherlands), or get killed by a jihadist (as happened to the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh).

On Friday, as reported here yesterday, the saga of Tommy Robinson entered a new chapter. British police officers pulled him off a street in Leeds, where, in his role as a citizen journalist, he was livestreaming a Facebook video from outside a courthouse. Inside that building, several defendants were on trial for allegedly being part of a so-called "grooming gang" -- a group of men, almost all Muslim, who systematically rape non-Muslim children, in some cases hundreds of them, over a period of years or decades. Some ten thousand Facebook viewers around the world witnessed Robinson's arrest live. (Read more.)
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The Underlying Message of "The Visitation"

From The Five Beasts:
During the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel informs Mary that her cousin Elizabeth is in her sixth month of gestation, letting her know that though barren and advanced in age, the birth of Elizabeth’s baby, like Mary’s, would be a miraculous event. So here we have a very old woman who had always been barren and a very young girl who had taken a vow of virginity (see here), both pregnant. Mary then travels to visit Elizabeth, “in haste”, and St. Luke reports the remarkable exchange that took place upon Mary’s arrival.
“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.'”
Two things taken together here strike me as extremely important from a theological standpoint. The First is that Elizabeth was “filled with the Holy Spirit”, meaning that everything she subsequently said would carry theological significance. The second is her use of the word “baby”, “the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” The word for baby in Greek is brefos, and does not imply a fetus or an unborn child, but just as it does in English the word strictly means “baby”. St Luke will use the same word in chapter 2 verse 16, in reference to the shepherds:
“So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant [brefos] lying in the manger.”
So through Elizabeth the Holy Spirit specifically refers to John as a baby in spite of the fact that he is unborn. But there’s more. The “leap” can be explained by what was foretold to Zechariah (Elizabeth’s husband) by the Angel Gabriel,
“[F]or he will be great in the sight of [the] Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15).
So the “leap of joy” was prompted by the baby having been filled with the Holy Spirit, otherwise he would not have leaped. And this is being affirmed by the Angel Gabriel himself. It underscores the fact of baby John’s personhood because only people can be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Waddesdon Manor


 From Homes and Antiques:
It’s impossible not to be amazed by Waddesdon Manor. Leaving behind the picturesque Buckinghamshire village that shares its name, you travel along a drive that crosses parkland and spirals up a densely wooded hill. Then suddenly, there it is, in all its extravagantly pinnacled and turreted glory: a French Renaissance-style chateau, improbably perched on a Home Counties hill.
The surprise visitors feel at Waddesdon’s sudden emergence is exactly what its creator Ferdinand de Rothschild intended. ‘It’s all an amazing piece of theatre,’ explains Rachel Jacobs, curator at Waddesdon. ‘The house was never built to be lived in, just for weekend house parties during the summer months. If you were a guest here, you would experience the collection, visit the Renaissance Museum, then the novelties in the grounds, such as the Glasshouses, Aviary and the German-themed Dairy, where you might try your hand at milking cows that had Meissen name tags.’ With the help of French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, it took Ferdinand six years to transform the featureless estate he had bought from the Duke of Marlborough into an extravagantly landscaped French-themed fantasy. (Read more.)

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A Scandal Like Watergate

From The New York Post:
F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016,” read a story in the May 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal. So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump’s campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparat have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump’s — and the nation’s — own good.

It’s an argument that evidently didn’t occur to Richard Nixon’s defenders when it became clear that Nixon operatives had burglarized and wiretapped the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in June 1972. Until 2016, just about everyone agreed that it was a bad thing for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to spy — er, use informants — on a political campaign, especially one of the opposition party. Liberals were especially suspicious of the FBI and the CIA. Nowadays they say that anyone questioning their good faith is unpatriotic.

The crime at the root of Watergate was an attempt at surveillance of the DNC after George McGovern seemed about to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, just as the government misconduct in Russiagate was an attempt at surveillance of the Republican Party’s national campaign after Trump clinched its nomination.

In both cases, the incumbent administration regarded the opposition’s unorthodox nominee as undermining the nation’s long-standing foreign policy and therefore dangerous to the country. McGovern renounced the Democrats’ traditional Cold War policy. Trump expressed skepticism about George W. Bush and Obama administration policies on NATO, Mexico, Iran and (forgetting Barack Obama’s ridicule of Mitt Romney on the subject) Russia. (Read more.)
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"A Tragedy of Historic Proportions"

I fail to understand how anyone can celebrate the death of babies, plus the mothers who will suffer from post-abortion trauma. From Life Site:
Irish citizens voted to legalize abortion on Friday, ending Ireland’s legacy as one of the world’s most pro-life nations. The votes are still being officially counted, but the pro-abortion campaign is declaring victory and pro-lifers are calling this a “tragedy of historic proportions.”

The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child – it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed, and will always exist,” the pro-life Save the 8th campaign said in a statement. “What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions. However, a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it.”

Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. The Eighth Amendment of its Constitution guaranteed equal rights for pre-born babies and their mothers. Repealing the Eighth Amendment was a decades-long goal of the abortion movement. The Irish voted by 67 percent to add the Eighth Amendment to their constitution in 1983, making the Emerald Isle a uniquely safe place for pre-born babies in contrast to the rest of the West’s liberal abortion regimes.

There have been five previous votes on repealing the Eighth Amendment, all of which failed. One was in 1983, three were in 1992, and one was in 2002. More people in Dublin, where the majority of residents supported the “repeal” campaign, voted in this referendum than in 2015 on same-sex “marriage” and in their general election. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower


 There have been a few books published in the last few years about Blessed Margaret Pole, last princess of the royal house of Plantagenet. From The London Review of Books:
As the heir to the throne, Mary enjoyed a separate household, and in 1525 she was sent to Ludlow to hold court. The countess was to look after the little girl’s health and diet, ensure that she did not wear herself out in learning French and Latin, and see that her immediate environment was kept spotless, ‘so that everything about her be pure, sweet, clean and wholesome, as to so great a princess doth appertain’. Mary’s food, Henry ordered, was to be served with ‘joyous and merry communication’. Whether the countess was up to this is hard to say, but later the Imperial ambassador was to declare that Mary regarded her as ‘a second mother’. When Henry began proceedings to annul his first marriage, when Catherine was discarded and the Princess Mary downgraded to ‘Lady Mary, the king’s daughter’, Margaret proved fiercely loyal and protective. In an effort to force their co-operation, Henry separated his wife and child, and Margaret – who was Mary’s godmother – offered to serve the young girl at her own expense. She was no longer, though, the sort of influence Henry wished for his daughter. After his marriage to Anne Boleyn and the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth, Mary was sent to join the household of the infant princess. There, she was surrounded by connections of the Boleyn queen. Margaret was superfluous; curtly, Henry wrote her off as a fool. If he had trusted her once, he no longer did so. The prestige of her ancient family, her traditionalist stance in religion, and her status as a peer in her own right – all these defined a woman who might wish to resist the new order. And her gender did not necessarily disqualify her from becoming leader of the opposition – if that was what she chose. (Read more.)
 More HERE.






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Goodbye, Netflix!

From The American Thinker:
As I discovered last weekend, however, those efforts are not enough to shield them from such efforts at this kind of social indoctrination. My kids have recently become fond of Netflix's exclusive new program The Who Was Show.  This is a children's show that highlights historic figures, with actors singing songs and telling jokes to educate the children-viewers.  It all seems harmless enough. I was giving the show mild attention as my kids watched in the living room until I caught this passing quip by a narrator, describing how the Roman Republic was an "extremely advanced civilization:"
While most of the world struggled to stay alive, the Romans had running water, air conditioning, shopping malls, and same-sex marriage [sic].
To reference a show I watched as a child, one of these things is not like the others. What, after all, does same-sex "marriage" have to do with staying alive or quality of life in the ancient world?  The first three are reasonable observations worthy of the suggestion that the Romans were an advanced civilization.  But the observation that the Romans "had same-sex marriage" is clearly forced and incongruent among the other things described, clearly pressing a distinct and ideologically driven social position upon impressionable children, and perhaps worse than any of that, it couldn't be more of a bald-faced lie.

But it's a bald-faced lie with purpose. 

Here are the facts.  Marriage, as an societal institution, was strictly monogamous in ancient Rome, and strictly heterosexual in nature.  The laws were structured toward the advancement of its civilization – namely, the production of children who would become Roman citizens.  There were never codified laws allowing same-sex "marriage" among Roman citizens.  The suggestions that it even occurred at all amount to singular and depraved examples. Laura Geggel, for example, cites at Live Science that Nero "castrated a young boy named Sporus to make him womanlike" and married him, and that Emperor Elagabalus "referred to his slave, Hierocles, as his husband." Both examples refer to emperors, bound by no laws and having an appetite for sexual activity with boys, "marrying" those boys.  Her arguments for "precedent" of same-sex "marriage" in ancient Rome include an emperor "marrying" a castrated boy and another's de facto "marriage" to a slave.  This is hardly evidence of a society that broadly "permits" same-sex marriage. So why introduce the lie that it was broadly permitted in ancient Rome to children?  Because the precedent of an "advanced civilization" practicing same-sex "marriage" is of importance in arguing for its current societal value. 

At least it was an important consideration in the deliberations leading up to the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to get marriage benefits in America in 2015.  Justice Scalia asked Mary Bonauto, a lawyer arguing for same-sex "marriage" rights: "But I don't know of any – do you know of any society, prior to the Netherlands in 2001, that permitted same-sex marriage [sic]?"  Bonauto answered that "as a legal matter," she did not. (Read more.)
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The Other Boleyn Girl

Since films and series based upon the books of Philippa Gregory are defining how many people understand British history, it is interesting to revisit the historicity of one of her earlier books. Here is a review of The Other Boleyn Girl by author Helen R. Davis.
 In The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory to me seems to want to rewrite history to make Mary Boleyn more important than she actually was. I wonder what Gregory has against Anne Boleyn. She seems to sympathize way too much with Katharine and Mary. The idea of Anne as a wicked stepmother persecuting 'poor innocent Mary' is not entirely false, but it should not be held up as the clincher for Anne's morality. Anne on several terms offered Mary peace terms, which Mary refused to take. Mary was not Anne's victim, she was her opponent. Also, many Anne haters forget that Mary's treatment worsened after Anne was beheaded. Also, while Mary was no monster, she is responsible for the deaths of her own people. She is not innocent by any means. The young Mary deserves pity, the adult Mary does not.*

Anyway, Philippa Gregory takes every rumor about Anne and presents them as fact and even invents a new one, such as Anne adopting Mary's son. There is no basis in fact for this. Having read her later works, it seems to me Gregory despises Anne and her daughter Elizabeth. I understand this is fiction, but many people who are not educated in history may take this as fact. I am very concerned, especially since Anne is long dead and cannot stand up for herself. Also while I can understand disliking Anne, I am very disturbed by the anti-Elizabeth trend. Elizabeth I was one of the most important female monarchs in the history of the West.

As for the writing itself, I am not squeamish in regards to sex. But Philippa Gregory has written a porno, not a novel. I had to skip over half the book due to certain scenes. PG, please leave this to your readers' imagination. We do not need to know what Henry and Anne Boleyn did in the bedroom!

There is one thing I will say for this book: it got historical fiction going again. That is why I give this book a very generous 2 stars. But please, if you are looking for an accurate representation of this court, I recommend Alison Weir or David Starkey. If you are looking for good fiction about Anne Boleyn, I recommend The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy, Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell, (best Anne Boleyn novel out there, IMO) or even the not sympathetic but more accurate The Concubine by Norah Lofts. I also recommend The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo. It is not a biography of her but is a study of how Anne is seen in pop culture, Eric Ives's excellent The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn and if you want a good movie about her romance with Henry, I recommend Anne of the Thousand Days. To a lesser extent I recommend Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer, which is pretty inaccurate but at least sympathetic. Please read it only after reading or watching ANY of the other recommendations.

*I personally see Princess Mary as a victim since she was mistreated by Anne, who had the authority of the Queen. However, I do not blame Anne as much as I blame Henry VIII, who participated in the persecution of his own daughter. EMV


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Monday, May 28, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

 Here is a guest post by author Helen R. Davis, reviewing the latest version of A Wrinkle in Time.
Filmmakers have challenges when adopting a book form to a movie format. Deciding what needs to be left in, what should be cut, and what changes to make is a fine line between artistic license and not offending the audience of the original work.  A Wrinkle in Time, a classic, is a book I feel has long deserved a film of its own. How does this film adaptation hold up?
In spite of what some critics have said, I feel it does quite well. Sadly, yes, the biblical references are cut from this film version, as is to be expected in a secular adaptation of a Christian book. L'Engle's original writings themselves, though not traditional, at least did not seem out of touch with Scripture. However, the movie is more New Agey than that, although during the scenes where Charles and Meg are shown the differences between light and dark, there is at least a distinction made between right and wrong and good and evil and objective moral values are still shown.
For those of you who don't know the plot, Meg's father disappears and it turns out he is on another planet that has been overtaken by evil. In the book, this entity was known as IT. Meg Murray is portrayed by Storm Reid.  In the book , Meg and her family are all Caucasian. Does this detract from the enjoyment of the film? Not in the least.   The original message of the book is still there.  This is well-acted, and while I did not enjoy some of the SJW 'forced diversity', it did not ruin the film for me. This was a problem I had with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If the actors play their roles well, appearance does not truly matter, but when it is forced, it becomes annoying. Thankfully, A Wrinkle in Time  does not do that.
The star of the show, I feel, is Reese Witherspoon, who plays Mrs. Whatsit.  She is a delight to watch every time she appears on screen and the special effects and visuals of this movie are worth watching it for alone. One of my favorite scenes involves a room with Mrs. Whatsit's 'boyfriend' the Happy Medium in a room full of gorgeous rose quartz.
The scenes involving Charles Wallace's mind becoming overtaken by IT, a metaphor for demon possession, are truly disturbing, but do show what happens when one falls away from God. However, I would not recommend it if you have small children. I even had to leave the theater for a few minutes.
All in all, though not completely faithful to the book, still not a disaster and still worth seeing. I recommend, however, some discussions about the Bible afterwards if you have kids and perhaps reading the original book  first.  Well done, but as is so often the case, the book is better. 4/5.
The original series by L'Engle is available HERE. Share

Jazz Musician Wynton Marsalis Speaks

From The Washington Post:
Marsalis was the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1997 with “Blood on the Fields,” a vocal and orchestral rumination on slavery. It came 12 years after the release of “Black Codes (From the Underground),” which won two Grammy Awards in 1986, and 10 years before “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary.” Marsalis will add to his collection of commissions that blend his fluency in jazz and matters of race with the debut of “the ever-funky lowdown” on June 7. Actor Wendell Pierce, another New Orleans native, will serve as narrator. If you’re not in New York you can watch the premiere via a free live webcast at http://jazz.org/live. (Read more.)
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The Murders of Edward of Lancaster and Henry VI

From The Richard III Society: 
The ‘Crimes of Richard III’: The murders of Edward of Lancaster and Henry VI.
The year 1471 was a vintage year for ‘crimes’, no less than two of them being attributed to this year. Both of them are of interest because we have more evidence about them than we usually have and can show how the stories developed over about a century from descriptions of what actually happened to what Holinshed and Shakespeare said happened.

The first of them chronologically is the death of Edward of Lancaster, only child of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, at Tewkesbury. There are many contemporary sources, two of them written very soon after the battle of Tewkesbury. The first, a letter written by the Duke of Clarence on 6 May, says that Edward was killed in the battle. The Arrivall of Edward IV, Yorkist in sympathy and written only a month or so afterwards says that Edward was killed in the flight after the battle. There are five other accounts written in 1471 or soon after which confirm these statements, reiterated by the Lancastrian Warkworth in about 1478. No serious historian now doubts that Edward was killed in the fighting. (Read more.)
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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Jacques-Louis David’s Artistic Revolution

From Cherwell:
Revolutionary France was a troubling time to be an artist. ‘The Declaration of the Rights of the Man’ declared an end to censorship. Yet Robespierre’s terror saw the blood of countless artists stain the Place de Revolution. The rules were less clear but in many ways state control over the arts remained unchanged. But the state didn’t just erase art, it also sponsored its creation.

Enter Jacques-Louis David, married to a royalist and a member of the artistic elite who became the de facto artist of the revolution. David’s great talent was his ability to take stories that were known but distort how audiences felt about them. We can see this in David’s neoclassical style through which he depicted the same characters but with new emotions.

Take his painting ‘The Oath of the Horatii’, presented in the Paris Salon in 1785. The painting depicted a narrative known by the citizens of Paris: two groups of men, the Horatii and the Curatii, were selected to fight in order to resolve a conflict between Rome and Alba. On the left of the painting we see the oath taking place, presented in the geometric lines of the Horatii. On the right we see the women, the sisters of the Horatii and the wives of the Curatii, weeping at the fate of their loved ones. In the period dramatizations of the story there is little reference to this oath and the selection of the combatants is usually depicted as the result of aristocratic whims. Here David paints a world where the state is worth the ultimate sacrifice.

But perhaps the message here is too subtle. ‘The Oath of the Horatii’ was, after all, accepted into the Paris Salon and David continued to receive royal commissions after its release. To see David’s true political masterstroke, we must look later in his career. On 13th July 1793 revolutionary journalist and politician Jean-Paul Marat was stabbed in his own bathtub by journalist Charlotte Corday. (Read more.)
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Ridiculous

Why it’s ridiculous to say FBI spying meant to protect the Trump campaign. From The Federalist: 
The Post and Times had been writing about the suspected source, Stefan Halper, all week, but generally refrained from including information that could reveal his identity. That all changed Friday evening. Both papers did everything but provide his Social Security number and home address. Their descriptions of his prior association with the FBI and CIA, his meetings with at least two of the Trump campaign members, and the timing of these meetings closely tracked Chuck Ross’s reporting in The Daily Caller two months ago, in which Ross named the informant as Stefan Halper.

The Times and Post declined to include Harper’s name in their otherwise-illuminating biographical profiles of him. They wrote that they withheld the name to protect him and others who may be placed in danger if his identity became public, while knowingly and effectively making his identity public. As if that bizarre departure from reality wasn’t enough, they then blamed it all on Nunes, Gowdy, and President Trump. They said their own role in identifying the informant was a direct result of Republicans’ interest in viewing the unredacted FBI records initiating the investigation. They made us do it. We had no choice.

Nunes appeared on Fox News the next day and pointed out the curious timing of the revelatory reports. He wondered if the decision to reveal Halper’s identity (in all but name) was timed to follow his scheduled meeting, inviting speculation that Nunes, his colleagues, or someone in the Trump administration had leaked all that information on Halper to the press. Under the circumstances, he was right to wonder. (Read more.)
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Oregon Bishop Fights to Restore Eucharistic Reverence

From Church Militant:
The archbishop of Portland is making it his mission to restore reverence for the Eucharist. On Tuesday, Abp. Alexander Sample announced imminent changes to how Portland faithful will need to approach the Blessed Sacrament. Writing in the archdiocesan newspaper The Sentinel, Abp. Sample pointed to the reverence for the Eucharist he witnessed during Mass as a boy.

"We always received Holy Communion at the Communion rail and on the tongue," he wrote. "No one dared touch the Holy Eucharist, except the priest." He explained that "behind the former discipline was a profound sense of reverence and awe for the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament." (Read more.)
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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Day That I Have Loved


Tenderly, day that I have loved, I close your eyes,
   And smooth your quiet brow, and fold your thin dead hands.
The grey veils of the half-light deepen; colour dies.
   I bear you, a light burden, to the shrouded sands,


Where lies your waiting boat, by wreaths of the sea's making
   Mist-garlanded, with all grey weeds of the water crowned.
There you'll be laid, past fear of sleep or hope of waking;
   And over the unmoving sea, without a sound,


Faint hands will row you outward, out beyond our sight,
   Us with stretched arms and empty eyes on the far-gleaming
And marble sand....
                                    Beyond the shifting cold twilight,
   Further than laughter goes, or tears, further than dreaming,
There'll be no port, no dawn-lit islands! But the drear
   Waste darkening, and, at length, flame ultimate on the deep.
Oh, the last fire -- and you, unkissed, unfriended there!
   Oh, the lone way's red ending, and we not there to weep!


(We found you pale and quiet, and strangely crowned with flowers,
   Lovely and secret as a child. You came with us,
Came happily, hand in hand with the young dancing hours,
   High on the downs at dawn!) Void now and tenebrous,


The grey sands curve before me....
                                                From the inland meadows,
   Fragrant of June and clover, floats the dark, and fills
The hollow sea's dead face with little creeping shadows,
   And the white silence brims the hollow of the hills.


Close in the nest is folded every weary wing,
   Hushed all the joyful voices; and we, who held you dear,
Eastward we turn and homeward, alone, remembering...
   Day that I loved, day that I loved, the Night is here!

by Rupert Brooke
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The Most Pro-Life President Ever

From Fox News:
Trump has stood up for the humanity of the unborn child like no president in recent memory. And this is why so many Christian conservatives stick with him. Witness the foot-stomping standing ovation the president received Tuesday night at the annual Campaign for Life gala of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. Not only was Trump reportedly the first president to address this incredible organization in its 26-year history, he used the occasion to deliver on yet another pro-life promise, one that his Republican predecessors could not, or would not, fulfill: He announced a new rule to stop indirect taxpayer funding of abortion through the Title X family planning program.

"When I ran for office, I pledged to stand for life, and as president, that's exactly what I have done," Trump declared. "Today, we have kept another promise. My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions."

Any organization receiving Title X funds will be required to establish a bright line of both physical and financial separation between its family planning activities and any program or facility that performs or refers women for abortions. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited use of federal funds for abortion. But today, Planned Parenthood clinics that receive federal family planning funds often essentially refer women for on-site abortions. Under Trump's Protect Life Rule, this will no longer be permitted.

The Protect Life Rule is a victory pro-life Americans have been awaiting for three decades. President Ronald Reagan first issued a version of the rule in 1988, but pro-abortion groups challenged it in court. The George H.W. Bush administration fought them all the way to the Supreme Court and won: In 1991, the court upheld the Reagan rule in Rust v. Sullivan. But the ruling came too late; Bill Clinton soon took office and withdrew the rule.

When George W. Bush was elected, he failed to reinstate the rule during his eight years in office. My former White House colleague Yuval Levin recently wrote that the reinstatement effort "was abandoned in the spring of 2006, in a deputies-level policy gathering that was one of the most contentious meetings I ever witnessed in government."

In the Trump administration, there were apparently no "contentious" meetings or hand-wringing over the impact on Capitol Hill. He just did it. This fearlessness when it comes to the cause of life is what warms the hearts of Christian conservatives and makes them loyal to the president. (Read more.)

More HERE. Share

Regionalism, Tradition and Good Taste

From Return to Order:
In the field of art, two equally erroneous extremes should be avoided. One is cosmopolitanism, which strives to establish only one art form for the whole world without considering the characteristics proper to each people and each region. The other is nationalism, which rejects any outside influence, even when legitimate and necessary, in order to confine itself to purely national bounds.

The cosmopolitan tendency is observed very clearly in the mammoth construction of cement and iron buildings that reflect an architectural design that is appearing with desolate uniformity whether in Iran or Switzerland, Zimbabwe or the United States, Japan or France. It is installed indifferently in banks, prisons, shopping malls, churches or theaters. (Read more.)
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Three Royal Beauties and Their Beauty Secrets

Alexandra of Denmark
Empress Eugénie
Elisabeth of Bavaria
From Geri Walton:
Three mid-nineteenth century royal beauties served as the glamorous ideal for women in the Victorian Era. These three beauties were the Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French), Princess Alexandra of Denmark (wife to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and heir apparent to Queen Victoria), and Elizabeth of Austria (wife to Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, and monarch of other states in the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Newspapers, journals, and fashion magazines regularly referred to the three women. Portrait artists, such as the German painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter, known for his portraits of royalty in the mid-nineteenth century, also captured their beauty on canvas. However, what all Victorian women wanted to know was the beauty secrets of these three royal women. (Read more.)
Please do visit my Trianon Health and Beauty Blog for information on classic beauty treatments. Share

Abortion and the Decline of Mental Health

An old article but more relevant than ever. From CBS News:
A provocative new study shows that women who have an abortion face an increased risk for mental health problems including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. "Results indicate quite consistently that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems subsequent to the procedure," the authors wrote in the study, published in the September 1 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on 877,000 women, including 164,000 who had an abortion. They found women who had an abortion experienced an 81 percent increased risk for mental problems. Women who had an abortion were 34 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, 37 percent more likely to experience depression, 110 percent more likely to abuse alcohol, 155 percent more likely to commit suicide, and 220 percent more likely to use marijuana. Nearly 10 percent of the problems could be attributed to abortion, the authors concluded. (Read more.)
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Frederick Douglass’s Irish Transformation

I currently live in the Maryland county where Douglass was born and so find his Irish experience to be fascinating. From The Irish Times:
This year marks the bicentenary of Douglass’s birth. To mark the occasion Solas Nua, an American arts company focusing on contemporary Irish drama, has commissioned a piece that celebrates Douglass’s connection to Ireland. In 1845, Douglass embarked on a lecture tour of Britain and Ireland, spending four months in Ireland. The episode, which is fictionally portrayed in Colum McCann’s novel TransAtlantic, was to have a profound effect on his thinking.

Standing at the edge of the pier with artistic director Rex Daugherty, he points out the house across the river in Anacostia where Douglass lived. To our right, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge looms large on the horizon. “This area played an important role in Douglass’s own life. A few streets away is the church where he gave his final sermon, just across the river is his home, so it was important for us to create a site-specific work” explains Daugherty. “Staging the piece on the water is also deeply symbolic, given his experience working in the shipyards in Baltimore and the journey he took across the Atlantic.” (Read more.)
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Queens and Saints

Six women who were queens and saints. From Catholic Household:
The Roman Empire, converting to Christianity, but like the family of Constantine, enduring the theological controversies, soon found that its Western half was overwhelmed by Germanic barbarian tribes–who adhered either to paganism or Arianism. The project of the conversion of the Western Roman Empire now became a project to convert and civilize these Germanic tribes.

St. Clotilde was the daughter of the King of the Burgundians, born around 475, and actually raised a Catholic. Her solid upbringing would be crucial, as she was married to the powerful pagan king of the Franks, Clovis I. Clovis was a resolute and brutal man. The account of Clovis and the Vase of Soisson, as told by St. Gregory of Tours, gives a wonderful sense of the man’s character. [Read the account HERE.]

Through Clotilde’s influence, Clovis allowed their firstborn son Ingomir to be baptized in 494, but the infant died soon thereafter. Nevertheless, Clovis, immediately prior to fighting the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alemanni, prayed to God that, with a victory, he would convert to Christianity. Victorious he would be, and that Christmas, 496, St. Remigius, Bishop of Reims, baptized Clovis. With Clovis, the leadership of the Franks accepted the Catholic Faith. Clotilde, for her part, would endure family disputes and tragedy after the death of Clovis in 511. She did what she could as a peacemaker, and retired to a religious life at Tours near the tomb of St. Martin, dying in 545. (Read more.)
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Spygate

 From Breitbart:
“Spygate” — the revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used at least one informant to infiltrate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — provides further vindication of the contention made in March 2017 by conservative radio host Mark Levin, Breitbart News, and President Trump (in that order) that the Obama administration conducted surveillance of the opposition in an attempt to monitor, defeat, and delegitimize it.

As Breitbart News recalled earlier this year:
On March 2, 2017, Levin noted mainstream media reports that suggested that law enforcement and intelligence agencies had conducted surveillance of Trump associates during the last months of the Obama administration. He also noted President Barack Obama had taken the unusual step of allowing surveillance reports to be disseminated more widely within the government, which made it more likely that details would be leaked to sympathetic media. Levin criticized what he called “police state” tactics by the Obama administration, and speculated that the agencies might have been involved in a “silent coup” to undermine the incoming Trump administration, which was loathed by official Washington.
On March 3, Breitbart News reported Levin’s broadcast and added additional evidence to the timeline, summarizing Levin’s accusations: “In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.”
(Read more.)

Secret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The FBI reportedly applied for a secret warrant in June 2016 to monitor Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos and Flynn. If true, it means the FBI targeted Flynn six months before his much-debated conversation with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

The FBI applied four times to wiretap Page after he became a Trump campaign adviser starting in July 2016. Page’s office is connected to Trump Tower and he reports having spent “many hours in Trump Tower.” CNN reported that Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election “including during a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump.” Manafort reportedly has a residence in Trump Tower. (Read more.)

Stefan Halper is only the tip of the iceberg in Obama spy scandal. From the Conservative Review:
We finally have definitive evidence that the Obama administration engaged in clandestine operations against members of the Trump campaign. But the revelation that Stefan Halper was planted by the Obama intelligence community to gather information on the Trump team is only the tip of the iceberg in exposing the vast, unprecedented espionage operation. Over the weekend, suspicions were confirmed that Stefan Halper — who has decades-long ties to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6 — was a secret informant who gathered information on Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Halper reportedly began to communicate with Page in mid-July 2016, which counters the timeline offered by former FBI Director James Comey, who claimed that the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation began at the end of that month. He and Page continued to communicate well into President Trump’s tenure, which raises the possibility that the investigation did not conclude with the president’s election. (Read more.)
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Cardinal Sarah on the Importance of Silence

From ChurchPop:
Cardinal Robert Sarah is amazing person. Born in small village in rural Guinea, he joined a minor seminary as age 12, was ordained at 24, made a bishop at 34, and was finally made a Cardinal in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He currently serves as the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed by Pope Francis to that role in 2014.

About a year ago, he published a book titled The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise. He recently visited The University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada and gave a talk on the same subject. The University of St. Michael’s College has produced a stunningly beautiful video about his visit, which you can watch below. “Silence is not only not talking. Silence is deeper, because the great noise is inside ourselves,” the Cardinal says in the video. “Even in our churches, there is too much noise. So it’s not a place where we can encounter God, silently.

Silence makes life more similar to God, because God is silence. He talks in silence. We encounter him in silence. And if you remain with God, you become silent.” He sees a lack of silence as a cause of the decline of religion in the West. “I think why the Western countries today are no longer believers, because they are talking all the time. They know no silence, and their faith is going down. Silence is really the moment where I construct myself as a human being related to God. And without God and without silence, we are lost. […]

The Western society seems to be lost because when we are cut from God, we are lost. It’s like a tree without roots.” (Read more.)
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

St. Jadwiga, "King" of Poland

St. Jadwiga aiding the poor
St. Jadwiga
St. Jadwiga
I remember reading So Young a Queen as a teenager and loving it. Queen St. Jadwiga's official title was "King" of Poland, since she was the sovereign. From The Catholic Herald:
These thoughts come to mind as I have been reading two books aimed specifically at girls’ readership. The first is So Young a Queen: Jadwiga of Poland by Lois Mills (Bethlehem Books/Ignatius Press). First published in 1961, it has been republished this year by Bethlehem Books as part of a series of biographies entitled “Portraits in Faith and Freedom”. It tells the story of St Jadwiga of Poland, 1374-1399 who married Jagiello, the pagan Prince of Lithuania in 1386 and converted him and his own peoples to her own devout Catholic faith.

As Lois Mills shows, Jadwiga, though betrothed to marry someone else, made a sacrificial choice at a young age to marry this unknown prince for the sake of her country’s peaceful union with Lithuania. It reminds one that other strong queens in history, such as Isabella of Castile, Bridget of Sweden and Margaret of Scotland became women of influence and power having been shaped by a deep Christian faith in childhood, alongside a rigorous education. They knew how to exert “soft power” for good in their husband’s lives, alongside the suffering and sacrifice such lives generally endure.

The other series of short stories I have just read reflect life in the 21st Century where opportunities for ordinary girls (rather than princesses) to excel are inevitably much wider than in the past. They have been charmingly devised according to a lively formula by a retired scientist for his two young granddaughters, Ella and Emily, as a way of showing them that young women can lead adventurous lives in areas formerly dominated by boys and men. The Ella Abbott Helicopter Rescue Service stories and Ella Abbott in Space, aimed at girls in the 7-9 age range who are looking for excitement and action in which they, rather than their brothers, are the heroes, show just how brave, resourceful, calm and quick-thinking girls can be in dangerous situations. (Read more.)
More on St Jadwiga, who gave up the man she loved to bring the faith to Lithuania, HERE. To quote:
Jadwiga was a tall and beautiful girl with red hair. In Europe she was famous not only for her beauty but also with wise diplomacy and deep devotion. Besides the Polish and Hungarian languages she also knew Latin, German and Italian. She had a strong personality and confident character.

She really cared for the fostering of faith in Lithuania. For this purpose she organized a special collegium at the University of Prague, in which future Lithuanian princes were formed. There was “something” in her that won people over. She reconciled Jagiellonians who were in conflict (dynastic problems in Lithuania). She knew about politics and personally met with the leaders of hostile nations to negotiate and agree with the conditions of the project.

In addition to concern for politics, the good of her subjects was close to her heart: she funded many hospitals and churches. Tied with the construction of one of them – the Carmelite church of the Blessed Virgin Mary “na Piasku” (see: map) – there is a legend. A certain day, when the queen came to the construction site, she noticed that one of the workers was very sad.

 This really moved her and she asked him for the reason of his sadness. He answered her with his difficult family situation: his wife, the mother of three kids, was very sick and close to death. Despite his work in construction, he wasn’t able to afford the treatment. Queen Jadwiga, moved by the man’s misery, leaning over pulled a slipper from her foot and unfastened from it a golden buckle, which she offered him. In this same moment, her bare foot leaned against a stone covered with lime, leaving an impression of her foot on it. When she left, the bricklayer noticed the impression and placed it into the wall of the church. To this day you can admire the impression of the foot of Queen Jadwiga. Surrounded by wire, it can be seen in one of the corners of the church of the Carmelites, at ul. Karmelicka.

Queen Jadwiga really cared for her relationship with Jesus and did a lot to bring Him closer to her relatives and subjects. She prayed a lot, practiced mortification. She also cared for the spread of the Word of God, funding a translation of the Holy Bible and the writings of the fathers of the church for Wawel Cathedral. She wished that the Lord would be praised there with the psalms without ceasing, so she established a special Psalterist college of sixteen people who praised God night and day. To strengthen the fundamentals of the faith in the Kingdom of Poland, she bequeathed her fortune to the renewal and expansion of the impoverished Academy of Krakow. She obtained the Pope’s permission to open a Department of Theology, which greatly hastened evangelization in the whole area of the vast kingdom in the Polish, Lithuanian and Ruthenian lands.

 The Department had a great influence on raising the profile of the university, which from then on really counted in Europe, and whose revival had great meaning in the history of Poland. It is here (from the XIXth century called the Jagiellonian University) that Pawel Wlodkowic, Mikolaj Kopernik, St. John Cantius, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Karol Wojtyla and the current President of Poland Andrzej Duda studied, to name a few.

Jadwiga and Wladyslaw reigned together for almost 13 years. Despite the large difference in their age they really understood each other. Wladyslaw really loved Jadwiga, who despite the difficult beginnings of their relationship, with time also loved him. They had great respect and trust for each other. The king wished for a child, an heir. Jadwiga gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia, but after three weeks the little princess died. Following her, two days later, because of childbirth complications – the 25-year old Jadwiga departed. Her death was a shock for the kingdom and was widely heard about in Europe. The Queen was buried in the Cathedral in Wawel. Jagiello, even though he married three times afterward, until the end of his life wore the ring given to him by his beloved Jadwiga. (Read more.)

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A Culture of Depravity

From Life Site:
What we are watching today is a real time strategic plan to transform the United States into a godless culture of sin that is promoted legislatively. Everything Hitler did was legal because laws were enacted that allowed him act with the tacit approval of the courts. The voice of the people was overwhelmingly silent as they took the bread of man over God.

Today, you are either "IN or OUT," depending on your view. Christian views are increasingly OUT of what has been recently legislated, as believers are battling a system against their views. No one thirty years ago could have thought this was possible coming from the courts and government.   Christians are now leaving California as they see the trend is one of persecution on the immediate horizon.

A new Rasmussen Poll said that democrats are more concerned about Muslims being mistreated in the U.S. than Christians being slaughtered abroad in Muslim nations. The day after The Correspondents Dinner, Trump met with the president of Nigeria at the White House. One topic of discussion was the widespread horrible persecution and slaughter of Christians in his country. There wasn't a word from the mainstream press about it.

Words have meaning. What is said today has consequences tomorrow. Ideologies good and bad form opinions. What may seem completely absurd and outrageous to one may be acceptable to another. This is why the divide is so great in the church as well as what one thinks about President Trump. Few are neutral anymore. The debate of words is heated before disturbance, and the strong rhetoric of opinion today is a prelude to civil war. The tolerance level for one another with a different view is shrinking by the day.

The Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of truth, love, justice, and light. If one is not trying to conform their views to the light, it is in conflict with the Holy Spirit because God alone is light. Abraham Lincoln would often quote a passage from Scripture during the Civil War that said, "and everyman did that what was right in their own eyes" (Judges 21:25). As people turn away from God, a humanist agenda seeks to dig in further. Jesus said, "My ways are not your ways," because that is the battle of the ages. Each year the sacraments are absent from a life, one is given over to a depraved mind. Light is not penetrating the soul, and therefore, one will not achieve the Will of God. (Read more.)
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A Striped Walking Dress

From Two Nerdy History Girls:
There are two pink striped dresses in the Visitors to Versailles: 1682-1789 exhibition (now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through July 29, 2018.) Yet while these two dresses are nearly contemporary, together they show the two very different styles in French women's fashion in the 1770s.  I've already written about this lavish robe à la Française, a gown from the 1770s that would have been worn to the most formal events at the palace; consider it a wealthy 18thc French lady's "red carpet look."

 The dress shown here dates from about a decade later, 1785-87. This style was called a robe à l'Anglaise, or a dress in the English manner. The robe à l'Anglaise was inspired by British tailoring. Unlike the softly flowing back pleats of the  robe à la Française, worn over hoops for sideways volume. the robe à l'Anglaise featured a closely fitted bodice and long sleeves, and a skirt with volume gathered to the back over a false rump or hip pads.

The pinked edges of the ruffled and gathered trim along the skirt offered a feminine contrast to the close-fitting bodice. They would also have drew attention to the wearer's feet with each step - important for a stylish walking-gown. (Read more.)
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